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Adoption Law and Practice in Australia – Safeguarding Children from Exploitation

Judge Geoffrey Monahan & Jennifer Hyatt

(2018) 30 SAcLJ 484

Adoption remains a controversial practice. Those who favour adoption see it as a humanitarian act, both towards the individual children and, in the case of intercountry adoption, their country of origin. Those who oppose it see it as a form of exploitation, in particular, where Australians unable to adopt locally seek to satisfy their own needs by adopting a child from a developing country. In Australia, the last quarter of the 20th century witnessed both a significant decline in the adoption of locally born children and an increase in the adoption of children born outside Australia. This period also coincided with Australia embracing adoption law reform including the becoming a signatory to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption of 1993. While the number of adoptions by Australians is now in decline once more, Australian law remains committed to safeguarding the welfare of all adopted children.